Still Going - 8/13
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Denise Pearl & Schatzi Lewie's Motor Home Another View

The good weather continues to hold!  High temperatures are in the mid 70's.  Lows in the high 40's.  Although still a little chilly in the mornings, it's perfect weather for sitting the the sun and fishing in the boat.  A little warm when the sun is out.  A little cold when the sun is behind a cloud.

Denise went to Fergus Falls today on her own.  She did laundry, grocery shopping, and took back a crock pot we bought on Monday that was dented.  I'm very surprised and thankful that I did not have to go.  It's not that she minds doing those things.  It's more a fear of getting lost and not knowing her way back.  But now that it's our third year here, she's was confident enough to go on her own.  I'm sure that having reliable cell phone coverage helped but she never needed it for directions.

However she did use the cell phone on several occasions while grocery shopping.  I was fishing with Lewie in the boat.  Do we need milk?  What size beef brisket should I buy?  I couldn't find the malt vinegar you asked for.  I'm sure there would have been other items as well but her cell phone signal was not very good inside the grocery store.  Being the technology "geek" that I am, I thought it was cool to be fishing on a lake, taking cell phone calls, replying to email, and piloting the boat all at the same time.

Around 2:00 pm, I received the final call from Denise, telling me she was on her way back.  The agreement was that she would do the shopping but I had to come back to put the stuff away when she returned.  No, she's not too lazy to unload the truck.  It's strategically organizing the refrigerator so that everything fits; something that I do better than her.  But that was fine with me.  At least I didn't have to spend a few hours in town and then put everything away.

I hadn't mentioned this before but the GPS card died on Tuesday.  When Lewie and I went to town, I attempted to input the address for the vet.  The Pocket PC said it didn't recognize the card.  So finding the vet took several tries as the only thing we had to go on was Lewie's memory.  He found the street OK but the address was North Cascade and we had a tough time figuring out where south ended and north began.  Then when we did finally find it, it didn't look like a typical veterinarian's office.  It was just a small shack next to the railroad tracks.  But anyway...

Well I'd had this message regarding the GPS card once before so I suspected the worst.  I tried the typical things.  I cursed.  Reseated the card.  Cursed. Reset the Pocket PC.  Cursed many times.  And then repeat.  After several repetitions, I gave up until we finished our errands.

I thought that maybe rebuilding the Pocket PC might help.  But then I thought, let me see if the laptop computer will recognize the card.  So I put the card in the laptop and nothing.  It just locked up my computer.  Well that confirmed it.  The card is toast.  I've waited all year for this.  Learned how the thing worked.  Read enough about GPS and mapping to earn a masters degree in Geographical Information Systems (GIS).  Even actually paid money to register the software that runs on the Pocket PC so I'd have the full functioning version.  All of this and I got one lousy day out of the unit.  Please pass the cheese.

On Wednesday when I was finished whining, I thought, "Hey, I bought this card on the Internet.  I have an Internet connection.  There's got to be a warranty.  Let's see what I can do."  I found the Semsons web page ( and navigated to the warranty page.  Yep, there's a one year warranty.  I checked the email receipt they sent and found that I ordered it in November.  Of course it's the typical "write to us and well send you an RMA number" but I didn't want to wait 3 or 4 weeks for the process.  I wrote them and asked if they would send me a new one right now, bill my Visa, and then credit my Visa when I returned the defective unit.  They replied that "Our return policy does not allow us to cross-exchange units.  However you may order a new one via our order page.  Then write to us to obtain an RMA number.  Once you return the defective unit, we will credit your Visa."  Well isn't that what I just asked them to do?

OK, we'll do it your way.  I ordered the card and requested overnight shipping.  It was late in the afternoon but I was hoping they'd ship the card that day.  However they did not ship until Thursday.  OK, it should be here today.  Well the mail came but no package for me.  Hopefully it will come tomorrow.  However I decide I should ensure the battery in the Pocket PC is fully charged.  Well son of a bitch!  The damn thing has only been in the cupboard for three days but it's battery has drained so far that it's lost all of it's programs.  Normally one can leave the Pocket PC off the charger for a week or two before this happens.  I'm starting to think that GPS was not intended for my use.

All right, deep breath.  I brought the cradle.  It's a device that connects a Pocket PC to a regular PC so one can load software onto the Pocket PC.  And this is exactly why I brought it; just in case.  So I get out the cradle and plug everything in but the PC never sees the Pocket PC and visa versa.  OK, I go through the drill.  Curse. Reseat the Pocket PC.  Swear (I'm tired of cursing).  Reconnect the cradle.  Swear again.  Reboot the PC.  Swear a lot.  I repeat these steps several times but nothing helps.  I give up for the day.

So that's how I spent my afternoon.  Kenny Olsen, Lewie's friend that lives nearby, stopped and visited with Lewie.  Denise read her book and didn't seem too interrupted by all of my swearing.  Around 5:00 pm we sat outside and played some Liar's dice.  By 8:00 pm, it was too cold to stay out any longer so we came in, fried fish, and then called it a night.

Tomorrow the cousins from Balaton are coming.  Larry and Barb can only stay until Tuesday but Lynn and Kim will be here for the week.  Lynn and Rose arrive on Sunday and I think they are staying until Thursday.  Anyway, it should be fun!

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